Here Are The Cars You Prefer With An Automatic Transmission

As someone who used to modify and track Subarus and always wants to have a manual car in the garage, I have come to realize that a 5,000 lbs luxury car or SUV does not need a manual transmission nor does it need a high-performance engine. All it needs is a smooth, efficient transmission that is barely noticeable during regular driving.

I learned this by enjoying my brand new A7e hybrid significantly more than my 2002 M5 as a highway cruiser. Don’t get me wrong, the sound of the M5 and the way it shrinks and dances when you give it the beans is truly fantastic when driving on a winy country road to the grocery store but the drone, requirement for constant throttle application to maintain any speed, and 22 mpg highway fuel economy (downhill, with a tail wind) makes it less than ideal for road trips that are more than 100 miles round trip. That first or second perfectly executed double-clutch downshift from 6th to 3rd when accelerating quickly for a merge or overtake can be breathtakingly fun (and of course wonderful to the ears) but it gets old after the fourth asshole of the day cuts you off or merges onto the highway in front of you at parking lot speeds.

Compare that to the A7 or even my oldish X5 diesel, which quietly shoot down the highway, deactivating their engines (or decoupling their transmission in the case of the X5) when not needed, and can be controlled with barely a pinky on the wheel. And most importantly, no shifting required since their modern 7-speed DSG and 8-speed auto get the job done well and can easily perk up a bit in dynamic/sport mode.

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